Saturday, May 30, 2015

Repirse of Part Two - From Kansas to Other-and-Altar-wise, An Account of Personal Experiences and Observations in a Mexican Curandismo Clinic


 All photos by Warren Falcon unless otherwise attributed.

*********************************************

[This was originally published as Part 2 on March 5, 2008. I have republished it so that new readers may get the major gist (besides my poetry) of what Paul Tillich would call my (currently) "Ultimate Concerns".]

The following is part two of a two part account of my personal experiences and observations of curandismo, traditional indigenous healing practices, in Southern Mexico (see Part One.).



[This opening section here is the same as in Part One. You may skip to "Part Two" if you've already read Part One.]
[The photo at the top is of the limpia fire circle (click on the photo to enlarge it). A pentagram has been drawn with denatured alcohol in the center of the circle to cleanse it. The other photo is of Bety R. at her card reading table. Click on the photo for enlargement and you will see the card deck she uses for card readings].

For six years I have apprenticed with Bety R. who has a very busy and successful healing clinic near a large city in Southern Mexico in the high planes between two cordilleros (mountain ranges). Born into a family with generations of curanderos and curanderas Bety grew up around healing practices all of her life. She has incorporated techniques and philosophies of Western wicca which includes widdershins, the use of the pentagram and other wiccan practices. There are angel meditations but I do not know whether these are from wicca for these are no sweet Christian or New Age angels. They are more akin to angels as primal energies of creation mighty and terrible in their service of the Almighty and Mysterious Creative Energy. Part 1 consists of autobiographical experiences with thoughts about these experiences as written in my notes during and after extended visits with Bety. I account for some of the tools and techniques and offer personal obserations and thoughts about personal motivations for studying and practicing curandismo. I speak of the appeal of power and the temptations thereof.


View some photos of my recent trip to Mexico at this site:



PART TWO

CARD READINGS

Many of Bety's clients drop in regularly for a card reading. Bety and her assistant are extremely intuitive card readers. The card deck appears to be a regular playing deck only I have never seen this deck in the U.S. The "Bety Spread," as I call it, consists of placing all cards on the table in lines of ten. I have yet to determine how the spread works, the significance of placements, etc. Once all the cards are placed on the table Bety looks over the spread then with a flash of fast fingers starts to count from the first card with a human figure, up and down, back and forth. She will ask a clarifying question or two and then begin to interpret the cards. The client participates by providing information along with their own questions from which the reading unfolds. Often enough people waiting in the same room participate by volunteering their own intuition, questions, comments. This seems to be tolerated very well by the person whose cards are being read although I personally would prefer a more private session. Bety's readings can be tender or tough, mincing no words when she needs to convey to a client that they're on a perilous path or ignoring a serious problem.

An unexpected participation in a card reading

On this most recent trip I unexpectedly participated in a card reading by Bety for a fifteen year old young man dressed in gang clothes with many insignias. Very tatooed with death heads, Santa Muerte, the Virgin of Guadelupe, and several famous Mexican rock band names, he had a lizard-like look as he sat at the card table across from Bety, hunched over, head down, trying to vibe her out with his tough venere. Unfazed and somewhat amused Bety quietly, quickly and agressively tapped over the cards in his spread. Then with a look of disgust she cleared her throat loudly as if spitting up some foul thing. Leaning over the cards with a head butting motion almost into the face of the kid now arching his head away from her, she screamed at him, "No me mentires!! Don't you lie to me!! You are a liar and the first lie I catch you in I'm going to beat you myself and run you out of here! You are in great danger. You could get killed by three people whom you foolishly believe are your friends. They have already killed two people and they are thinking of killing you. Verdad?!! True?!!"

Wide-eyed, the tough collapsed into tears and poured out a tale of gangs, drugs, sexual initiations, violence, betrayals, jealousies with easily shifting loyalties, and territorial turf war. He was planning to run away to another distant Mexican state to escape the gang and the three young men who were planning to kill him. He was distressed because he discovered that the gang he was in also had a chapter there where he wanted to hide out. The young man's older sister who had dragged him to Bety wept, too, and looked to Bety for real help. Bety had called me over to the table just before the reading to observe. Bety looked at me and asked me what I saw in the cards. I saw nothing as I was not familiar with this particular deck. I had nothing to offer regarding this young man's story so I suggested that another card spread be made with the goal toward solutions or possible solutions to this young man's problem.

Bety agreed and commanded the young man to pray hard as he shuffled the cards again. He cut the deck. Then Bety pointed him and me toward the limpia/cleansing room insisting that he bathe for his life in the flames. She told me that he needed an adult male to cleanse him. After my cleansing him both she and I would work on him. He would need to return for the next 2 days for more work.

He bathed vigorously in the flames. I was as scared for him as he was for himself my being unexpectedly thrust into this life and death matter where his, his sister's and Bety's expectations were that I would be of some assistance to him regarding this dangerous gang matter. I was imagining gang members waiting outside of Bety's gate to kill us all when we exited the temple area.

The flame vortices roared twining high and hot with lots of dark smoke as I directed him to stomp, growl, punch the air and throw up bad energies. After he stepped out of the fire and while the assistant took photos for images within the circle for interpretation, diagnosis and prognostication I cleansed him further while evoking for him fortifying protective energies. I prayed to the Eye of God (see Part One for my comments about the Eye of God archetype) and all its suitable manifestations to protect, guide and save this kid from a violent death. The kid trembled having lost his persona of toughness at the card table when Bety called him out about lieing. He appeared to be 8 years old at most.

From my journal notes of the session:

Bety entered and quietly went to work.

I have never ceased to watch Bety's eyes when she commences to do energy work as they become non-human, bird-like, with a kind of sheen in them. She seeks and sees the energy field of the body and works it according to what she sees. I worked at the kid's back, she the front. Dipping our hands into a bowl of water fortified and "sweetened" with a spoonful of men's cologne called "Siete Machos" ("Seven Machos" with seven male horned goat heads on the label) we cleanse, fortify, and sweeten this young man's energy field. And we pray.

Bety makes some symbols on his forehead, throat, and heart (pentagrams) then places his hands together in front of him in an open cupping gesture. She makes energy passes over the hands as if cleansing them then drawing energy into them. She twice taps out points of a pentagram in his hands then gently pushes them together in a praying gesture. She gently guides the praying hands to the kid's heart with one of her hands over his hands at the heart and her other hand at his heart center on his back.

The kid looks visibly calmer and energetically clearer. His face is relaxed as if in trance. He really looks like a sleepy little boy. I then guide him to a small, quiet room and gently speak to him. He needs a safe place to stay. His sister enters with Bety and we together commiserate where this safe place may be. I have a rental car and so it is determined that I will drive him to a small village in the chaparral an hour and a half away where his grandmother lives alone. I'll pick him up the following morning and drive him back to Bety's for further work.

Regarding the second card spread made before the kid and I went to do the cleansing ritual, I don't know what Bety saw in the spread and I forgot to bring it up to discus with her the following day.

The end of Bety's work day

At the end of Bety's work day, usually 5 or 6 pm, and once the assistant and I have cleaned up the temple, we each have a limpia in the flames to cleanse ourselves of anything which may have adhered to us from the day's work. The assistant then dissolves and cleanses the limpia circle with more fire. A burning candle is placed in the center of the once-was-the-limpia circle to burn through the night (the floor is concrete as is the entire structure of the clinica/templo and thus it is safe to burn an unattended candle). We gather before the altar and pray to Metatron and the Eye giving gratitude for the privilege of doing this kind of work (Please see earlier blogs re: Metatron).

As we step out of the clinic and through the front gate Bety makes the sign of the Cross at her forehead, her mouth, then her heart. To her this is indeed a temple, a sacred place, and she leaves it as she enters it, crossing herself and praying.

As we all walk toward my car we discus what we'll all have for dinner, our separate plans for the evening, and then we see the taxi coming toward us driven in a fast cloud of white dust by Bety's new boyfriend. Bety cackles that he "can't get to her fast enough and who could blame him" her "being all sexxy and a real prize." She's winking wildly at us all. She speculates as to whether they'll be able to get home "before the fires start." As we howl with laugher her walk becomes exagerated, that of a "mamacita," her full and ample hips swaying like large solid bells in their tower.

The taxi slides to a noisy stop in front of us.

I drive the kid to his grandmother's as the sun sets behind the high Oaxacan mountains. He's quiet and shy. Forces larger than both of us are at play and we are both silenced by them. He runs to his grandmother standing in the doorway when we drive up as if she had been expecting us. She nods to me once in acknowledgement, embraces the boy, then both enter the adobe home surrounded by smells of dinner and the pungent odor of nearby farm animals. The insects of the chaparral loudly drone as the dusk rapidly advances.

It is night by the time I park the car and walk back to the hotel.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

"Now, Heart" - Some Of What I Remember When I Listen


 A river is a process through time, and the river stages are its momentary parts.
—Willard Van Orman Quine

for Vercingetorix

From early poems,1970s, youthful indiscretions/attempts to vocally/poetically arrive at/derive a worthwhile writer's voice. Some explication might serve or enhance these under serving, undeserving though 'striving-after' poems hidden in old journals understandably unpublished but now so with apologies which are these expiatory explanations. Recently rediscovering these early arrivals, derivative yet aspiring I recognized and reembraced an enduring self maturing, arriving into late middle age:

Obsessed newly by jazz, mad about the many miraculous lady singers, entranced all too easily as youth are wont to be by sorrows and sexual infatuations which feel, emphasis on 'feel', like love, here are two of many 'songs' as tributes and life markers to jazz singers who provided soundtrack and felt expression to my angst and easily inflated/deflated sense of self, of beloved others, and of that new territory, independent life away from parental home and childhood community discovering, blundering into the fray of separate hearts and minds, irresponsible genitals and insouciant jouissance ('juiciness', in French) , discovering then and again and again that like Walt Whitman I 'contain worlds' and many disparate selves poorly formed, most of them collective projections and expectations of who or what I wanted to be, what others wanted and expected me to be, resulting in much confusion, tumult and multitudes of momentary throw-away selves. Thus singers like Bessie Smith and Dinah Washington became anchors, warm contexts and containers, for my daily fragmentation and re-formation.

I lived on 3rd street in downtown Chattanooga, a refugee from zealous, politically conservative white evangelicals and the vestigial yet still viral Southern Confederacy. Just a block or two from where Bessie Smith was born, I used to watch from my upstairs porch the steep hilly street's comings and goings with a glimpse of the Tennessee River between tenements across the street, its persistent rich aroma heavy in the air. I imagined Bessie Smith as a little girl playing up and down the street like the kids I saw then - once, two of them gleefully chasing a frighteningly large and confused looking rat.

William—he insisted on 'Willie'—an old man down the street who knew Bessie as a little girl, used to come up to my porch after one day hearing Bessie from my phonograph singing blues onto the always busy but attentive street. One of the first and permanent things I learned from my porch is that a city street has keen, observant eyes, acute ears, omnivorously seeing/hearing everything, indifferently, perhaps, but nothing escapes it, a roving, all-knowing urban Eye of God.

Extremely green and eager as green always is though stutteringly, and without apology, I enjoyed Willie's many stories and back pocket bottles of Old Mr. Boston Apricot Brandy, both of which—story and spirits/spirited story —dissolved or appeared to, age, racial, cultural, and sociological differences, along with those catalysts/cata-lusts, the forever alchemical Bessie and other jazz singers, Billie! Dinah! Ella! Sassy! Lil Ester Phillips! Nina Simone! to name only a few of the sensuous solutio chanteuses resolving sexual confoundaries by Miss-ambiguating sins' plethera with loose lilt and will- o-the-lisp whisper tongues.

One night Willie, much 'in the pocket'—an expression for being well onto tipsy which I've never heard from anyone but him—wanted to dance to a Bessie tune playing, 'Back Water Blues', him recalling nights as a young man in rural Tennessee where he'd worked hard days in oppressive vegetable fields then hit the after hours juke joints for 'colored, twas segregation days, ' he explained, where he would go to drink, dance then dive/delve, as it were, into the sensual mysteries of moist skin, hot breath, mutually open mouths with their commodious moans and mumbles, venial hands, always vital parts, private hearts mutually pounding ancient known rhythms, odors and tastes of gin and those slender, forbidden, now greedily stolen bites in those all too short nights with their damned intrusive dawns.

'Dawnus interuptus, ' I quipped, us both slapping knees, passing the narrative bottle fore and aft hefting moments re-grasped between us, offerings to the equally narrative river, the all-knowing hungry street.

Jumping to his feet, Willie described 'powder dancin'' (pronounced marvelously, 'powdah') which I had never heard of. Talcum powder would be copiously scattered onto the dance floor where couples in stocking or bare feet would ecstatically dance, gliding and sliding sweetly scented, muskily bent toward later glides and slides in the slippery joy of momentary allure and amour on dimmed porches or surrounding woods often enough and gratis upon delicate slabs of moonlight gratuitously dewy providing cushion for Passion's out and in, honoring and dignifying deities of skin wanting more making more skin, headlong Nature's frictional algo-rhythms indelibly scored in every/each his/her yawing yen.

Willie shouted, 'YOU GOT ANY TALC POWDER? ! '

...The jazz us trembled...

'NO! ' I bellowed, curious.

'YOU GOT ANY FLOUR? ! '

Even more curious, 'YEAH! ! '

'GO GIT IT! QUICK! ! '

He grinned an Old Mr. Boston juke-joint night-memories quaff-again grin.

Martha White, a brand of flour sold down South, has never been put to better use. Willie threw handfuls of 'Martha' over the tenement-planked living room floor as I half protested at the mess it (and me and Willie) was and would become. Completely gripped by his present-in-the-past brandy trance, a much younger man now, he suddenly grabbed me, brandied and tranced, too, my long hair flying, and danced me all over the floor the night through with swigs of Old But Now Spry 'n' Sprightly Mr. Boston with pauses to change record albums on the phonograph, 'catching up our breaths, ' he panted.

Next morning (more likely early afternoon) , Willie long gone, I awakened sprawled on the penitent porch—a cool concrete floor my sinner's bench—sweaty and thick as pan gravy, mosquito bitten, marinaded in Tennessee night mists. I staggered into the living room onto the ghostly floor powdery white, 'stroked' with two attached, or close to, sets of foot prints, heel slides and smears, a kind of 'Jackson Pollock meets Tibetan sand painting 'yazzed' yantra'**' with cigarette ashes flicked into the flickering impermanent mix. I've not powder danced since when we drank discovering oral history's joys, opened eager ears and fraternal arms forgetting fears of race and religion, age and expressed/ espressed Desire's multilingual disseminations.

I know that wheat is anciently sacred but now even more so for flour, the sight and feel of it, its unbaked smell, turns me again toward a Chattanooga 3rd street, its compass river swelling like bread nearby bearing witness still for one cannot say too much about rivers—their irreverence of edges scored, spilling themselves, proclaiming natural gods deeper than memory yet dependent upon it for traced they must be in every human activity, no matter the breech, for something there is to teach even deity though it may be wrong to do so, or hearsay to say it or sing, but the song is there for those whose ears are broken onto bottoms from which cry urgencies of Being and between, dutiful banks barely containing the straining Word.

**From Tibetan Buddhism. Visual meditation devices,
Yantras function as revelatory conduits of cosmic truths.

1. To Bessie Smith,3rd Street Chattanooga (circa 1971)

Already the river begins its sweat.
April to September I'll be on the porch
Come sunsets listening to cars in the
Dark and you, remembering the flour
On the floor and me and Willie in
Stocking feet dancing till dawn,
An old man down the street come
To drink on my porch sometime.

You were singing one night
While we drank and he just
Had to dance and pulled me,
Reluctant, skinny ass kid
All over the floor that night.
But my feet did dance.
And the flour stayed down
The whole summer long.

***

Now, Karen E. and Dinah Washington are still too painful 'o' dirges to give but only the skinniest details about. Karen, skinny, too, like this account where the devil is, indeed, in the details; Karen, young, vibrant, brilliant, German literature Thomas Mann scholar, once a patient in a mental hospital I worked the night shift at, committed suicide. We both loved the divine divas of jazz, Dinah Washington in particular.

I used to read William Blake out loud, the voices of the school children on the playground out our window and in the nearby park so loud that I had to shout out his 'Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience' to be heard. Karen would almost always cry when she heard me quote/shout now by heart, mistakes and all, holding her sad face in my hands, 'And we are put on earth a little space, That we may learn to bear the beams of love And these black bodies and this sunburnt face Is but a cloud, and like a shady grove, For when our souls have learn'd the heat to bear, The cloud will vanish, we shall hear His voice, Saying, 'Come out from the grove, my love and care And round my golden tent like lambs rejoice'...'

By then gin had replaced Old Mr. Boston, and thin Karen had replaced some earnest yet fleeting others for in youth there are ne'er too many, from Willie nights to other momentary eternities of lovers. We lived Blake's songs, and Dinah's. Karen died them. The gods and Thomas Mann love her. I still do. Die of them, that is. And love her, do.

2


Dinah Washington, All Alone On The Street Of Regret (circa 1977)

It was sunrise, October.
Karen had just done herself in.
I suffered it through with
William Blake and gin.

Over the fence across the street
Children ran to class and Blake,
Too, chased those kids fast through
Leaves in the chill school yard.

I thought - the ground's already hard over
You, Karen. To Charon, then, and keep
Yourself warm. My arms no longer can.
You left no note in the dawn.

Out of lime and song at 7 a.m.
I dress, spin down the steps like then
In this morning now thin with Spring.
There's green over you now.

I cannot help but see a thin mildew
Form around your fingers in the dark.
Blake's still down playing in the park.
I'll play some Dinah when I get back in.

Now, Heart, don't you
Start that singing again.

Monday, May 4, 2015

DESIGN - FABRICATE - INSTALL


[All photos are by Warren Falcon.  All rights are reserved to him]

Move cursor ahead to 18:25, the adagio
 III. Heiliger Danksgesang:
[click this link below]

“Poetry, alas, grows more and more distant. What commonly goes by the name of 'culture' forgets the poem [or distorts it into 'popular' dissemblances]. This is because poetry does not easily suffer the demand for clarity, the passive audience, the simple message. The poem is an intransigent exercise. It is devoid of mediation and hostile to media.”

- Alain Badiou, “Language, Thought, Poetry”

A Sampler Of Poems As A Biography

I think poetry must
I think it must
stay open all night
In beautiful cellars - Thomas Merton

...
let him who has eyes to

read lend human voice to

who has become an other


He's gone crow

said one old poet of another 

...
 How It Was I Came To Be What I Am - Mythos

for 'Spider' Bottas

They would argue over tides
Who bade me come into the world.
One said, Six o'clock.
The other, No, twelve.
I was born at the thirteenth hour
All the while mother arguing,
This is not the time but a little spell,
While father argued it was death,
You are dying and your child, too,
Is dying. You have been poisoned.

It was full moon and high tide,
The hour of birth.
All arguments yielded to the tide's.
The moon lit up the stadium
Of their gripes while I was
Born amidst their sweeps at
Each other, the nurse neglecting
To wipe me free of blood and salt
Being drawn into their strife.

He was born at day, one said.
No, at night, and he is a she,
Said the other. The nurse,
Speaking truthfully, said,
Cleaning me at last, No,
You are both right. The child
Is he and she, a hermaphrodite
Born of two days labor, its head
Out of the womb the duration.

Ruination! father cried.
Fame, mother sighed.
Both right, the nurse agreed,
Of these fables are made.

Then father tossed me into the sea.

The nurse saved me who later
Became my lover, hiding my
Sexes with a four leaf clover.

...
Childness let's have us honey
flame intended, names smeared
upon the glass, an accidental
pane, hands touching delicate
as trespass what is allowed
lace of vision.

 ...
One touches the other which touches me

I am become a massive bird
bent backwards

a wobbling kite of tallow and tin
a bruised three-blade fan

petroleum kisses over
massive cables between coiled

legs, those others, of mortar,
of hot metal glow

the handsome welder, masked, sings
into the retina of his dark glass

how entwined with bridges
a bloated form of tangled
arcs/angles shudders

how lips chafe
gently the many
necks curved
of alloy
million-groined

...
I am uncovered, thin, bared upon thinner
sheets the man-ripped to many images,
torn into, landscaped to former curves.
No longer do I grieve enclosure, touching
only myself, delivered from layers.

What begins to be, earth swell, breaks
root-room open to blood means.

All hurt now stings twilight quaked into being.
Your breath falls upon me now, taut, sinew,
bruising hands, purple insides flare warrior nerves
to unknotting surprise.

Magpie dances.

Lines, veins, strung between Pole Star
and First River Mouth, an embedded ruin uncovers in milk floods.
Touch gently first what has been too long concealed.

Hard touch congeals once was telling mud remolded into
“Not again. Not yet the bleeding Centurion.”
Wield roughly then through gates too long shut.

When I cry out, do not mind. Blindly ram. Do not stop.

Magpie, my keeper, is flying.

 ...
I suffer the happy travails of indigent withers,
a later paramour whose eyes do what thighs
no longer can. Young men stray in the redder
door and, thank god, are easily distracted,
thank god, the erotic slights of hand, thank
god, the scented smoke, the velvet-covered
mirrors drooping unnoticed; they depart the
happier minds touched more than diminishing
crescents of flesh.

...
I have broken my back lifting
all these my loves up to heaven.

...
 I was reaching for god then - not your fault - a lavender
boy early befriended by crows, already resigned to what
was given and what was to come, a softball between the
eyes, your attempt to guide me toward those diamond
thighs which, you often repeated, were everywhere waiting.

I blink still before you, head down, focused on 'Lion's Teeth.'
I am your hard mystery, and soft, not so fast for I am fat
and cannot round the bases quick. I am your inherited meek,
a burden to shake into a sliding man furious for home.

At four I pluck a wild strawberry you point to.
All authority and accidental grace, revealing much,
still dew wet, sticky to the touch, opening sourness
deserves my frown. You laugh at my dawning smile
for its sweetness slowly yielding, a surprise gift
for what will always unite us, your fear that I will
suffer, too, your fate, untended desire gone to wildness
brought low beneath branches, slow embrace of
cradle-gentle boughs entangling legs and light
between the greater shadows,

and shadows shall win the day.

...
upon my chaste return, sunburned,
churned by the Atlantic, I will have
discovered a haunting sound again,
an animal music of the air, the lungs,
screams really, gulls falling by arrows
of blue which, blue, saturate sky and sea

to learn the heart again
avoid the narrows
at the island's end
where feet are easily
mistaken for doves and
large currents beckon
compel them to descend

...
But only one,
just, finger,
dark, traces
delicate
a lace

conforms
forehead
tip
to nose
then
wet lips
rose-swollen
with happy
use cries
and
barriers
break,
surge in
to new
terrain.

Knotted muscle,
nerved cord, by
heart and heat
implore/defy no
sky nor pliant
dirt deny but cloy,
hand in hand require
only dissolution of
the Old Masters'
tyranny by Numbers
insistent upon
reduction, odd
waters trail
calcinations/
calculations-bodies
born of even water
into mists, continuously
reft from Given,
riven from Dream,
such freed from
virtual into literal
placenta and spleen,
striven history reshaped
redeems a value once
consigned to Hell-realms
confining dark thoughts

to matter.

...
With heart will I

to Guatemala go,

there a Mayan lover

do some good,

to active volcanoes,

deepest lake

with creatures strange -

axelotls,

pink,

delicate,


and one fountain send where

I need to go

...
On our broken boat the harsh light will not break.
We see our day clearly as we can.
Tell the night, now it's here to stay, that

once I glanced the sleeping youth, legs against the wall,
felt a pall descend upon us here,
this boat lancing the bay waters darkly.

Some to books then, the priest to his sad, effeminate stare.
I can no longer envy those of the black cloth
so bend and tie the shoe.
We shod our feet against what long loss of motion,
eyes downcast or boldly returning the stare?

Beneath each eye there's some familiar look we refuse.
We map our way to sleep in the palms of shy or frightened hands.

...
that salt adheres to the palm
proclaiming only this
that purchase requires both
sweat and the one hidden pearl
of scraped touch

much there is in the hand
bequeathed;
beneath the thigh the grit
burns smooth the groove
where you lay

...

I, on the other hand,

have lain down with

countless thousands.

My tent is worn out.

Stains mark love-cries,

some blood where tongues

were ground down to root words,

utterance hard pounded,

soft tissue torn letter by letter,

tender verbs opened to pain,

that which is paid for more

than alabaster embraces

and this strangling of waists


My tent has drained more

of love's body than a mortuary. 

...
On with the boring center line
endlessly dividing though broken
on purpose suggesting a way to veer.

No guide needed here.
Fear is the drive shaft
and longing turns the wheel

...
You're here aren't you? Don't say good or bad.
It's no accident the year's the Dragon's.
Chinese or no, the year has a tail long as a river.
Peel the scales behind the ears
you'll still roar for pain o roaring boy
spinning in the world, the recurring dream
of vertices whirling pink and red, a large
mouth with teeth spitting you into
an even muddier river. You'd fish it
if you could. More likely you'd dam it
at the source. The occasional catch is
more likely snag in undertow.

It's undertow that matters.
The real power's there.
Ask the undertow, you'll get answers.
Don't say need. The bottom's filled
with old cars, tin cans, bad seed.
All you'll ever want. Get lucky.

...
Life, dear Barcelona, is sweet..

One endures long enough to break through thunder,
a taut belly, a smooth place for lips to land.
One may reach a Pure Land which has no logic,
the tedious seasons of a long life endured.
Still, one gathers names of each joven prince
passed beneath loving, yes, arduous hands.

Again, upon Kingfisher's wings I blow these kisses,
this music, your patient ear awaiting the purist pearl,
for you were once the bequeathed, escaped girl
without fear of oceans, this one between us which
now must be overflown to reach you.

-  N. Nightingale, Empress of Contrails

orphanspeak from
orphanmouth tries

That one day the book shall be written,
Odysseus come smiling through the door.
That I shall live forevermore free of provision,
be delivered presently into good, rich life
and unto the richer world, my Lover so long
turning turning turning in distance away from,
yet to manage a caress, a smooch which
neither dismisses nor fully embraces.

It is I that am and shall be erased into this
Love which shall then in time be erased as
well in the greater Sun, and that Shining
too shall be erased. Then we shall all be
scattered, or I shall be only, embrace by
embrace, toward erasure no longer effortful.

I sift draft by draft rough toward world
now slowing in spite of parentheses these
provisional postulations of 'the good life'
to come. Eventually. There is only this
that I am living now. And my hands feel,
even perhaps are, strapped to this wheel
that turns me as turns Beloved Earth,
the Sun, too, each dreaming
near to but apart from each.

My reach is
here on my tongue,
in my fingers here
grasping words from mind.
I am ever behind in this chase,
now am further from Love,
Space, than ever
though my heart
is swollen from
wanting It.

Still, World, accept my blessing.

I send this message aloft on kingfisher wings

**

I've still no idea what the
inside of my father's bomber
looks like, how it smells
when filled with fear, laden,
perhaps passed off as gun
powder, fuel, flak flame
and smoke so deep in the
pores it stinks a lifetime,
yours. Mine by blood. Still,
your son is proud though
fear is the meal you often
fed dutifully eaten with
sliced bread so white white,
light in the shaking hand,
dread the tarnished knife
and fork, simple instruments
to quell your own terror
served up to sons, at least
one of them. I know that now,
and this:

Dessert is a son's pardon.

You nod, wink,
all's understood,
unsaid but conveyed,
not too late the
father-hope.

If you have one more bomb to
let go let's do it together. God
has chosen me and it wants
revenge, REVENGE the name on
a sudden wall, a painted scene,
swamp in black light bizarre,
iridescent Spanish moss dense,
tangled, sways, hints an invisible
wind, there you are too, an old
portrait, in uniform, good looks,
sad, even gentle eyes, a smile
noncommittal, the war is on.

Suddenly I lose stomach for it all.

I forgive everything.

You are young, a bomber pilot
dropping heavy kisses backed
up in the bomb-bay.

There's a wall somewhere
central in every capitol
of the world with your name on it.

Promise, I'll drop your name, not
bombs, every son's chance I get.


See all these sailors here
in packs? I'd kiss them all,
say to them,

Love your old man,

what he's seen is in his eyes,
finally dare to look hard there,
the face is yours,
no talking allowed,
no guessing either,

watch his hands,
what they do.

Never say

it's over.

Love, I mean.

**



orphanspeak from
orphanmouth tries

Rodriguez 13
sandwich done
kneels again
& so seeking
the thick tome
of half century
America opens
blood & steel
misshapen god
misshapen citizens
miscreant tongues
snort into green
hope in spite of
all that has gone
before in spite
of Christmas
even once a year
other holy days
gone too, wild
for gelt “all melt
& maya”

I too
spill into
the covers
the heavy
book

open it up
always now
opens to its
(all our)                                                                                              
broken back

the poem there
at the breech
HOWLs as do
I/we all (just
to remind) when
the blue water
breaks again
to nuclear
flame over an
elegant place
as the faceless
ornaments do
also break
into armaments
& my/our own
burden for blades
drop fall still   
hard upon me/us
as does the mid
mad century drop
fall into this
new one

I hear Blaser
sing-song-ing
from the room
of the living
the in-breathing forced
the out breathing stretched
extending into air & irony

“The clown of dignity sits in his tree.
The clown of games hangs there, too.
Which is which or where they go -
the point is to make others see -
that two men in a tree is clearly
the same as poetry” - Robin Blaser

...
DESIGN - FABRICATE - INSTALL

the subject matter
is not new

& not the sorrow

old as the first cave
bearing first fire
in human hand, the
expiring artist torn
from blank sky to
an expectant wall

a herd there
a declaration

one day we too will
fill the earth as
hooves have done
capture sun & be
done-over/overdone
& so come to such
an edge of ruin

...
Heavy let me pass

lets me pass I
limp up 4 steel
steps push in to
the Way of Peace
take my usual place
settle rattled by
icon image & pewter
vision of what
is not any longer
there the wear of
a half century not
to compare that of
20 centuries past
what can last or
come from all that
so sit me hard down
upon the wood get
to the book at hand
the known & the new
mystery which emerges
from the white plastic
sheath carefully
packed in bubble
wrap which is a
double Christmas
any day

orphanspeak from
orphanmouth tries

sorting shattered
ornaments each
Christmas season
before the tree
is trimmed the
grim task to sort
each broken globe,
glinting shards
from the survivors
(I AM ONE) so sad a
mystery still remains
how they do break in
darkness stored in
attic high untouched
by light, my hand,
the supple hold of
green limbs everly.

I cannot toss them
away (pretty all the
more because pitiful 
I AM) any-old-way 
so take/return them
to the woods where
the tree is yearly
cut/trimmed & so
scatter them upon
the needles' brown
changelings into
sparks resembling
those the welder makes
just out the door now
kneeling as I have knelled
(once & do still) a fat
boy betaken by mysteries'
brokenness & safe return
to pines though
hard on supposes
& orphan spheres

I adhere to a bard or
two the good few of words
& what of them of absence
be made though presenting
slight-of-palms even
Rodriquez 13 kneeling
before fire/light

Erotic stance w/
pewter hands the
welder removes his
mask, stands, a
handsome face w/
gold teeth unbroken
as ornaments were
once & forever
broken - eats his
sand-the-world-wich
blankly staring
past his truck I
notice the side
then of it says



DESIGN - FABRICATE - INSTALL

I think: the history
of religions is this
just, only the sign
reads MODERN STEEL
not Postmodern as it
now should to be precise
true to an age bereft
on Stagg Street thrust
once again into Christmas
- deer & such - though
Celtic too - Cernunnos
snorts from forests rough
deeply onto a green where
sits beside a silver stream
an orphaned god abandoned
carved upon stone with bronze
(before steel) but still
(the god is) stone fearing
it is no longer
real yet sentinel to
“an archaic authority” (Julia Kristeva)                                                                                              


Let me then work
my poem (all of
them) around in
furtherance of
what can be said
without such drama
of centuries past
& to come

lines ending in Stillness
a suggested Vastness from
which each comes/returns:

Cave - Image - Sky - Expanse - Singular Branch & Many

Plenty Are Stillnesses Advances Even In The Rot The

Dissolve From Clot Toward What It Is Or Was & Always

Proper-Name-Enough-For-Me - STILLNESS

I am taken with such at which
I stare which holds my gaze with
shades of It & of Itself, that is,
is a death or like unto it -

Stillness unbreathed

or in need of It (Breath) now
having been only once (Rilke)                                                                                              
who (it seems) becomes/relents
known form though (It is)  returned
or re-rested to Itself beyond Christmas

and yet and yet

the kneeling boy
in the evergreen

the shattered orn-
aments ever gleam

the needles' net
a permanence enough

gold-leafed & trumpeting

**

Midnight In Dostoevsky - ARS POETICA

Is it
feathers'
dawn shoe

through
which
blood
casings

mourn
the Orange
Moon?

Alyosha
the old
animal heat
turns in on
itself

burns
beneath skin

the bone bruise
fuses out
against what
yearning once
meant in
wetlands
between

navel

moon

corona

pubis


The one eyed
painter too
flicks and claps

repeats silently

as he will and is
want

his lips moving
as

does a spider make
a

quieter order
in

a darker corner

no sight needed
only sense and silk

...
And now come poets each century heavier than
before, heavier than the other few, this new one too,
only bards, a real few, to bar, board up the big gaps


...
Here, on one fountain of a mourning mind,
I have been taken up into grief, the strange
relief of clouds. Soon departed I shall be
once again returned to disquieted prayer,
the proud monk to his rites rejoined
such are covers for disjointedness.

There, almost within reach, the blossoming
tree brightens between darker bricks to truly
dwell. It is for me a shy son of mists to see
in spite of big chunks missing, lost, wasted,
torn out, that the Celestial World is not as
it appears to most, It yearns for much needed
hardness for spirits without shoes still long
to be bread that they may dwell in our finitude.

Dear uncommon friends, Old Strand, and my zen
quill and pen-ners of the East, imbibers of tea
and samsara, cackling cocks and hens in the locked
and guarded shunyata pens of the world -

you all have become wholeness-itself by now.
I am reading reading crowded pushed your many
years behind me hoping I may gather what you
all have found in the dusk where the trail ends
at the highest peak.

Ruffling all your bright feathers your KATZ
chorus clucks/crows up from the black frozen
stream below:

No becoming.

What is there to be found?

Black Rooster, blind,
scratches all dawns.

**
still in this night I am turning
and turning on the hard pallet

these old pages that I have turned
now over 40 years in starry exile

as if my tongue could matter less by day
than my thoughts could mean more by night

these constant companions the good few
who lend voice to all that goes on

inked between and upon ledges high and in
canyoned depths what continues seen or not

such are strayed
ponies bending their heads to

finer blades tender shoots green or in winter
without complaint chew brown tufts brittle

shadowing snow and a pair boot tracks
veering off and up or down

alone trail into other fields or
upon remote peaks

only song's
a traveler's companion

**


 The Low Poems - for Lowery McClendon


Dear Low' - Upon His Leaving Mountains For Manhattan, circa 1981

You did it. You left the trout behind.

Sunday the corn was cut down. Apple trees
in the nearby orchard were felled which explains
the screams I heard a week ago, and the droning'
of wasps. That hill was exposed this evening at
sunset, reflected pink in the sky. Reminds me of
the women I always saw through your eyes,
their large lips and eyes, the dark thighs particularly,
fields without their corn now shedding a purple
light like Stevens' Hartford, and you there tonight
forsaking the school yard we'd walk beside
stopping to comment on that view of hills
at our favorite wall where 'Juke Joint's Pandemonium'
stalled on hot nights to break beer bottles for your
poems broken glass, curtains you'd pass in the
dark where your wheels would splay the stars stuck
to tar bubbles on the street when Hart Crane beat
his words against your rhythm running down
to Montford Park.

Be quick about it then, your departure:

I walked through your house.
You left behind that crooked frying pan.
Your steaks will never taste the same again,
and that espresso pot there, too, black stains
stuck inside like little Lamont's words,
'Are we lost yet? ' Just thrown out like that
plaster of paris bone from the kitchen.
No dog would chew on that, some kind of
sentinel to Arborvale Street signaling something
fragile has passed on like Mr. McKnight's
roses given over to winter, Indian summer
an old squaw, packed up her warm skins
and vanished like a wife or lovers.
It's like that, you know. No magic but our
own so often like that old white bone's intention
to be art, our poems strung on the page like
slip over chicken wire, words expiring from
our clutching at them -

'You will be beautiful, make meaningful our days.'

What are our names anymore, Low?

The corn is all cut down.
An old scare crow remains.
Apropos. Poetry's worn out image
stretched out on the hill forlorn in the ice,
forgiving no one, especially ourselves,
alien corn of a foundering century.

**

Here's Breath For You - Upon Purchase & Buyer's Remorse

Dear Low,

Not to worry.

I am the man most pursued in last night's dream.
That emaciated thing at my back keeps tracking me.
I remain just out of reach. Classic. Even there,
as here, I am escaping something, a life time of
practice in this 'Kingdom of the Canker'.

It was no banker who followed me last night
but a starved lacklove rejected by 'Canker' and, well,
by me. Who'd want that part, all start and no finish?
Replenishment has often enough meant hiding out
and a demand that it keep at least 5 arm lengths away.

I will try, I tell it, to look at it but I find its presence
most disturbing, its handful of leaves continually
proffered leaves me in a quandary. What do they
mean, this offering, though my father was a lumberjack?
Perhaps this is a track of sorts to follow for an end
to the mystery. I am stumped.

Again, not to worry.

After a life time (now almost 60 years) of identity crises,
which is a low grade fever in the personality, such is poetry.
I am very weary of it as I now move into yet another identity,
OLD MAN. And who gives a damn in that new
'Kingdom of the Cracked & Crank'? Invisibility awaits, or worse,
pee pants.

Do I become that thing which follows me in my sleep,
leprously white, pale wanderer of the empty pockets,
eyes dark and full of something deeply known?
I am not yet ready to know such things though the
dream indicates that I am for it is very near.

How can I expect the culture to pretend to be interested,
it having pushed the thing even farther away than I ever
could? And since this has turned too goddamned
confessional I do confess that I am beginning to lose
heart for it, all this pushing, this running away, which is
perhaps good news to the very few who know me truly.

Rather,

I sit on the cultural dunce stool in my corner of the room
reading, reading, tracing, tracing the chase of 'logos'
through time. No rhyme or reason can I make with my
earnest forefinger. Still malingering shadows of what is
in those dark eyes just over there dim my creased page.
I pull at curtains to close out tighter whatever daylight those
eyes may bring to my knowing.

I am such a monk.
I live hard unto myself.

I daily sacrifice goats on an alabster altar to
the blood thirsty deity both in me and who dwells
just outside my door.

Grace, yet, daily unfolds, usually in the coffee cup, first sip,
and morning prayer without too much buyer's remorse which,
I am convinced, is what that first squall of the just born infant
is about...'So much for corporeality...desiring only the womb.
I could not read the fine print of the contract writ small in
capillaries, that upon me there will be a vice, a clutch of
alien air, a fall into too much light and clouds of Mercurochrome.
I regret me I regret me I regret me...'

One adjusts. Continually. The persona is adaptation
appearing to be solid but sleep reveals the neutrality
of the animal. Dreams tell us otherwise when we remember
them as it takes an ego to witness, to remember.
They reveal that we are caught up into something
so much greater than flush and stir. It's a wonder we make
do as much as we do and still call ourselves by name,
our family a species of animal, 'homo sapiens'.

I regret self pity. I'd reject it if I could
but it adheres, last resort of old coots born
honestly into it no matter the copious Mercurochrome baths,
the smelling salts obviating the needed nipple.

What is all this singing bathed in tears born of tremendous desire
and fear? Whose arms would hold fast and safe, embracement
against the brace of all us we fallen stars who do burn out brightly
or, more like me, privately in quarters counting days as if each is
the last until that dread thing finally comes in, after a life time of
daily threats and close escapes, with hopeful relief? Hopefully
there will be no buyer's remorse for purchase of Death.

''Here, '' I'll try to say 'ponst that day',
(one must become Shakespearean in such company,
last payment on the installment plan) ,

''Here's breath for you. I tried to use it well.''

Today the Market reports a run on Mercurochrome.
Birth goes on. I am for rebirth, a dirth of days
makes me suddenly Hindu, foregoing gurus and
bindu point. I've made my own here.

Selah.

Still, methinks I'll have your ear for a little while longer,
a handful of leaves only for my thanks, one foot well
into 'Cracked and Crank', the drunk tank a memory
worn out. Doubt is my companion.

Love, too. No remorse there.
Buys me time, aftershave and
loads of underwear for the trickles ahead.
Thank the gods for all that.

Oh. And one last good cigar.

W.

**

 Regarding 'Madly Singing In The Mountains' - An Old Man Changes His Tune 

for Po Chui, Liu Tsung-yuan & Low McClendon


The traveler at a loss: to go or stay... - Liu Tsung-yuan [773 - 819]

Fearing to become a laughing-stock to the world
I choose a place that is unfrequented by men. - Po Chui [772 -846]

So I would hear out those lungs... - James Dickey


I would rewrite the whole thing

withdraw every word without ado
with no undue pressure release
even these mountains upon which

within which I turn sleepless in
the dark beneath laurel the
rhododendron pungent in cold

spring air wondering just where
this all goes how it all ends
this life where thunder rolls

between this valley where I lay
with heat lightening teasing
presences I cannot name though

the old masters have forever
tried and try yet again on each
thinning page in this worn book

the collected songs which have
finally crossed an ocean have
made it over the Eastern hills
to some of us here far far on other-hill

such singing long arrives traveling
to me to hear but whispers now
such is their weariness my only

companions in this old house
of dust which is yet an inn
for these old singers

*

No longer do I madly sing
though an earned madness
clings a shroud a fog a
suggestion of the sublime
that I shall no longer call
Ineffable, Beauty, Power
or Surcease

my young brow long gone old
and creased matches the map
my finger traces on yellowed
pages brown edges these smeared
mountains ages ago drawn by a
forced, palsied hand indentured
that remains uncredited diluted

ink smudged dried into elegant
interlaced stains that sing to
the eye 'no choice but to try'

dear painter I should live in
such hills where perhaps the
bones of your trembled hand
point beyond kingdoms beyond
fences your painted image
has so long outlived

*

I see that a face can at least retain
some semblance of former glory if a

face is a mountain once sung
now written only now suggesting rhythm

now melody only now a shine lonely on
tips each peak this my brow now theirs

too sings of silver a dew a scent up from
worn paths beside valleys rivers streams

their banked ferns wet do cloy and
bend

now it pleases me to read of these
and so sing by the reading

*

still in this night I am turning
and turning on the hard pallet

these old pages that I have turned
now over 40 years in starry exile

as if my tongue could matter less by day
than my thoughts could mean more by night

these constant companions the good few
who lend voice to all that goes on

inked between and upon ledges high and in
canyoned depths what continues seen or not

such are strayed
ponies bending their heads to

finer blades tender shoots green or in winter
without complaint chew brown tufts brittle

shadowing snow, a pair of boot tracks
veering off and up or down

alone trail into other fields or
upon remote peaks

only song's
a traveler's companion

*

let him who has eyes to

read lend human voice to

who has become an other


He's gone crow

said one old poet of another
**


 from “Poetry's Dark Night” by Jacques Maritain

“Each time the human mind puts itself to a difficult task, it begins its conquest of new fields and especially of its proper spiritual universe by bringing with all this a certain amount of dis- turbance, of disaster. The human being seems to become disorganized; and sometimes in fact it happens that crises of growth end unhappily. But they are, in any case, crises of growth.

At the time of Gerard de Nerval and of Delacroix, this is what happens: so much had people examined the consciousness of art within themselves, that they ended by touching at last the one consuming thing crouched at the depths; a thing which art does not enclose any more than the world encloses God and which takes us beyond all sense of where we are going. The moment arrives, in the course of the 19th Century, when poetry begins to take consciousness of itself insofar as it is poetry. Then, in a few decades, there is a series of discoveries, setbacks, catastrophes, and revelations, the importance of which, it seems to me, cannot be exaggerated. And that is only the beginning. This contact with self-awareness, this reflexive spirituality was needed in order finally to deliver poetry among us. I think that what has happened for poetry since Baudelaire has an historical importance equal in the domain of art to that of the greatest epochs of revolution and renewal in physics and astronomy in the domain of science.

I suppose that Baudelaire's situation would be described with sufficient accuracy if we should say that he appears to be in continuity with the best in romanticism by the deepening of the consciousness of the art, but that in reality he marks a discontinuity, an enormous transformation, because at the same time it is of the poetry, it is of itself as poetry that poetry achieves awareness in him.

 ...
In a field I am the absence of field' - Mark Strand

'I love the way a crow walks...
to wit-to woo-to wound-and last' - Robin Blaser


Who?


someone to send to, these


the impertinent tocks

the unmannered ticks that

tickle spur the near

grackle's cough, it


a statement

makes which

is the

displace

ment

of air


In spaces

without known

design the

tree, close,

wanders too

ponders a

coughing bird

its musical

fourths disclose

concurring


with traffic down

the hill and out

over

the bay

where gulls

wing

unheard

on the

hill yet

seen yet

dip in time

with the

grackle's

hack


all is parsed

paired

quartered

squared

among apparent

but unprovable

perhaps disproven

- if reason is the thing -

things


Who

but the old
painter missing
an eye
flicks in
measure
too

tapping toe

countless
endings
as they go

of fire and smoke

the scratch
once

twice
the strike

a match begins

it is all
all over again


Again

there
atop
the
hill
he
sits

on the chipped stoop

the flaking paint not

to be
mistaken
for moss
or manna
or for
an eye's
remorse

flakes


He can still
hear clearly

a thing

a song

or two

in thirds

and fourths

one eye can take
in the smatter
not dismissing
the missing other

(there always is
something gone
something undone)

the image stations
juxtapose

flatly (mono)
yet hear the
cleared throat's
black washed
out

the traffic's
turning
back

the sounds
(implied only)
in bay's waves

sunlight
on the winking caps

in the sinking troughs

the
spin of
hunger flashed
on

wings

white

the

sea

gray

but for

the sparks

suggesting
gulls daubed
quickly
upon the
water's
canvas

their tips
mute each
downward
movement

coughing
coughing

too

and again

in rhyme

timed

~~~~~~why,

they are
coughlets

~~~~~~yes

upon which
so much
depends

forgetting the
transport

the color

the states of dryness

which may or
may not

feed
any notion
archaic of
time or
beauty

nor wetness
slake

dependencies
shadows

gathered
round

or

spirals
deeds

'no matter'

of air
for that
matter

unsettled

seeking a nest
or home

even an eave
within which

one may (shall we)


re-gather


in the water's

throat

the bell tones

there, their

displacing as

does a grackle

the near air


even the further

found change


sensed only


sometimes heard

sometimes not


It begins always

with a bird

black

devoid

not to be dismissed

not to be forgot


Which

Who

in forgetfulness
let him not
dissolve the
plot
implicit
invisible
within the
unkennable
the indivisible

yet known by sight
and in the seeing
divided parsed
for rehearsals
alone

again
a revelation

or perhaps
a summation

of
contracting
wings

that
they,
the gulls
are

disassemblers

screaming

all the while
the waves consider

all the while
slapping time

and tide

The one eyed
painter too
flicks and claps

repeats silently

as he will and is
want

his lips moving
as

does a spider make
a

quieter order
in

a darker corner

no sight needed
only sense and silk


beneath a trusted
wheelbarrow (it is
turvy) in the long
grass its wheel bent
can no longer
complete a turn
can no longer
signify a circle
nor even a whistle
of wind

its hold's hollow
lends a reprise of
weight or perhaps
only a mind's
commotion above
matter denoting

dimension

depth
of field


again 'no matter'

the one hand over
the one good eye

and the missing
vocals

the shapening words
in exaggeration do

mouth

do borrow

to woo
a semblance
that lasts -

Who

Seeing the light
(thinks he does)

that it is good

and in the seeing
divides the light
from the darkness
(which is not the
grackle) .

And he calls the
light Day, and the
darkness he calls
Night (the gulls
unheard, distant,
just go on, calling) .

And the evening
and the morning
are the first day.




“not to be named is to be lost in light” - Blaser

Spicer told me once from
the other side
while I was humming
Edith Piaf about
a rosiness so very
well o're the real

the spice garden
the backyard spread
before the orchard
on our personal
hill reveried

never once climbed
so enamored of the
bees at work
there

their Queen of
the Hill (Duncan)                                                                                             
and the Apple

named “Bittersweet”

not to be
disturbed
at all
in this
or any other
May to come


comes Spicer
permitted at last

to the meadow
returned

with Robert (here too)                                                                                         

enjoined me to leave
only
a guidebook'

Cryptics For Cripples And Cantors

“The rest, ” he sneered, “are
matters not concerned; broken Maker or
broken meter the world wags on,

not one stone
bitter
in the House
That Metrics
Built.”

**

...
qua qua qua
sisk boom ba
twixt Fucquaad
& Apothecary
near the corner
time forgot

but o not I
not I when
the clot broke

the expectorating
hoi polloi
screaming

no help at all

as I stood pale
pale, paler still,
bleeding out from
an undignified
place leaning
upon a tailor's
wall, he too

no help at all

threatening to
call the cops

It closes me in
again to recall

qua qua qua

Fucquaad

amongst the forgotten roses
where one is hungover in the
supposes with which one perpetually
begins, that one can never finish
like this, pissed, which goes on,
which goes on and still on,
“I can't go on but must (adjusting
the truss) because I am losing
my hair and so on and ever on”
dot dot dot into eternity should
one believe in such, but one may
use the idea of such, eternity
- -go forward or behind, wince at
the word- -living in the blue rind
of sky crumbling onto nether
shore where relentless waves
tease relentless wind disturbing
a lone relentless tern tracing
uremic rims of foam

“tanti tanti non avessi conosciuto
la morte tanta n'avesse disfatta


quando solo uno sarebbe sufficiente”
[“so many so many I had not known
death had undone so many”
when only this one would do]

shall I call then eternity
a home for shells, a curve
in space? disgrace myself
yet again with belief, any
one, believe that such shores
are a where after all, a place
to shelter, each wave somewhere
by someone or something counted
as is every hair numbered
counted still? they fall as
do waves into crescendos
rainbows should the sun
so shine for what is left
to comb of shore and hair
is a disturbance of
fractions, refractions
the forlorn redactions
of what is perceived,
felt, spilt upon the
depilitating pate

and so I must wear a hat but let us not go then
you and I patiently into all that but when come
time proper, a hair fall caught in a shaft of sun
light, the endless comb over undone, wind blown
upon the shore, then we shall speak of it sure,
and more

...
I adore

in timbre

thru the

window rings


the arms too

cling wring

out

breath to

breath


outreach this

to introduce some
levity

for we (loves)                                                                                          
were many day-ed

times merry

we merrily played

harming no one,

the god you insisted

be excluded from

all our nakedness


many breaths

exchanged groped

times the many

ropes

all our

wanting

hands emptier
sensitive finger-
tips filigreed
prints your
body hairs
sifted imprinted
touching softly

no matter
the black or
blue tide

of thee
O lover

what
slips out
ebbs black
back into lapis

lapses into what
self is (a bell
shaped fiercely
formed)                                                                                          

uttered/poured,
scored trans-
parent upon
surfaces

faces which are

even eyes which
now glaze with
love/loss

a multitude
of petals

peels

the jasmine
unspurned
at last

at last/least
O return soft
Junes

the lips curved
out to ring
sing of
which are
sometimes
pink, of
lavender
swollen

as if to kiss

the antinomies

a string

of pearls

anemones

& thee


bring them all

back, so many,

to me now


their vespers

once was laughter
spent

seeking out
between bodies

continents
valleys eternally

shifting eluding
rapture

contraction
of sentinel
bells against
each of each
reaching

the clappers
their constraining
rounds in too too
secure now rafters

,,,
 one is not immune
to jealous couriers
who would come
between lovers

Rice paper is thin
tender words never
tear through ink

Wild tears fade
sure words to guesses

Distance reconciles
murmurers with desire

Duress strengthens
supple resolve

supple resolve
thickens skin

thickened skin
feels the better
when simple
loves caress

...
Whatever became of Majestic,
his harlequin shoes,
his suicidal crocuses?

When did I marry Lonely?

can't recall

but fell kid-hard

backyard empty clothesline

silk slip one pin down


Dip shyly in brick shadows

pornographic breezes

I sing to knees now


Beyond Manhattan Bridge

sudden heat lightening

a good night with cool rain

old vinyl Nyro


needle scratches


done with song




**
“Let him not be another's who can be his own.”
- Paracelsus

Refugee from the American South.
Now loud-but-reverent mouthed in
New York City.

Leave the world to the scoundrels!

As I get older, my relationship to ground is problematic. Balance is no longer an assumption that delivers. Is it the room that leans or is it me? My sense of place has never been too pleasantly real or here (but for parentheses happy-enough and for these I am indeed thankful) , and place has been and still is found more in sound, a very early childhood thing, in what I hear by ear or eye when I read. Totem in this my life is the book and it's associated familiars. And now, older than I have ever been, which is a painfully obvious tautology standing long at the urinal waiting, waiting, a poem may arrive more quickly than other flow, poetry has taken on an urgency which orients me, grieves me, and leaves me somewhat in relation to light though I burn the midnight oil to work a poem from the darkness, and my eyes can no longer focus...but, it's ground work. Gives some heft, makes some meaning. Still, can't say I have traveled light. Not really. But heart's the better for the journey forced, or freely taken, pockets full of pieces.

Soon be ground myself, though.

...
“Folded and reserved, the modern poem harbors a central silence. This pure silence interrupts the ambient cacophony [that masks our banalities]. The poem injects silence into the texture of language. And, from there, it moves toward an unprecedented affirmation. This silence is an operation. In this sense, the poem says the opposite of what Wittgenstein says about silence. It says: this thing that cannot be spoken of in the language of consensus; I create silence in order to say it. I isolate this speech from the world. And when it is spoken again, it will always be for the first time...This is always why the poem, in its very words, requires an operation of silence.”

- Alain Badiou, “Language, Thought, Poetry”

...
...quiet blue interior, Our Lady stands
firm too, graceful, veiled, lightning
strike all around, roars outside nothing
against palpable blue softness, the Host -
firm suchness upon Old World table, flowers
fresh poised in ecstatic trance, golden
mouth Chalice open full of shadow,
hungry mouths to feed

...enter a child a school boy soaked
bare feet uniform darker blue stain run
rain-wind-storm sheltered now the Virgin
place cool upon feet, where is this school
unseen on only road the way to las grutas

...bow before the Host, genuflect small
delicate hands palms white kneel on creaking
wood kneeler kiss fingers holy traces
his prayer

...I have come from afar
from godless City enveloped in
my own importance trapped my own
motions no purpose knees or hands
now come to monstrance find this
muddy miracle with marigolds

...sun breaks through, child walks
tio's house I follow tongueless, a
burro 2 miles mud, flood, to caves,
springs, boy Anselmo out front, little
heels press little pony grey, one
eye brown the other blue, Golondrina,
his name, The Swallow, do not ask why
beneath the bluing sky flush with bird
song in waters red we tread on
me a distance behind

...arrive tearing springs caves erupt
full dark overhang a place for prayer
not for my knees but Anselmo's on black
root kneel holds hard to a limb “don't
fall in”  I shout suddenly shaken nothing
within to hold to

All are barefoot there: beasts, boy

...returned little chapel blue
an offering for Our Lady - muddy
shoes - receives all things
arms outward extend blessing
blue cool shadows quiet there
where mud may me dry


In chipped vases

altar flowers bright


Done with City

with self


Which goes first?


No matter

The All Blue

chooses

**

...
two Hassids young bring candles for
Shabbas only a few hours till inflamed
prayer begins as sun sinks to night

prayer is oil the dead come home to

perhaps even in this cafe they
watch the books gather on the familiar
corner where shopkeepers' decades pass
hurry home before dark with candles
and cares, the wares of religion, the
Book & dream, a distant land made close
by old songs kindled, 'finest ones'
still kindred made the stronger by
fire and voices-one mingled with
Mendelssohn and the later oranges

Ramparts lift by Chambers above
African graves, the slaves of
South Ferry sentinel terminal
near ferries toil as lower Manhattan
lights a menorah towering despite
what is now worshiped there knowing
that home, the one sought(even now)                        
more resides in words aflame reciting
the Name, One alone, then of
patriarchs/saints the bearded whole
lot of them who murmur still for all
our want and next year next year shall
be different for we will no longer be
here but in Holy City finally gathered

cabs blur yellow/gypsy
in angular winter light
now dazzle before Spring
when raises dead bulbs to jonquils
potted pretty in windows, on stoops
and, wild, strayed in parks

do not, O, pass us by or over
for all our patient harping

come morrows under willows yet
we shall hang up our loves again

get back to work
honest scrub and
clean beside the avenue
stand recalling willows
never seen

and grieve still an old yet present
eviction in the cities of men

...


 Leave Taking, After Matsuo Basho, Circa 1978

“There is a blessed fidelity in things.
Graceless things grow lovely with good uses.” - John Tarrant


Expecting more rain.
Not yet light though 6 a.m.,
night still over the barn.


From the porch, high wind.
The moon, a corner of it,
rides comfortably in clouds.


Clouds moving over mountains,
their night work -
some rain in the buckets.


Bestowing order,
things feel their boundaries,
robes of autumn rain.


Back to bed,
just-dawning.
Noises in these old walls -
mice search for food or string,
bird stretching its wings.


Soon these things I must leave -
wood smoke, frayed rope coil,
finger prints on faded walls' wrong color.


Last flights -

on the sill
scattered wings,

musky corners'
gently waving webs.


A fertile shelter.
Many nights I have wrestled here.
Some mornings have
broken into me like thunder.


I have shed skin after skin.
These I leave behind.
Some warmth they may
provide for the mice,
rags for the moths to eat.

**

I note now from yesterday the grace of
animals who hold me in their long gaze:

1 dog
1 peacock
1 llama

I watch the playful dog Oakley chase the none too
amused peacock Stanley who chases back the quiet
dusk and the dog, piercing shrieks, high shrill barks
echo back from the close woods, the muted stream.


Llama looks up from her evening feed of field greens.

Sees me. I wave (silly enchanted human) making loud
smooch sounds, a call for her to come to me which she
does, walking slowly, blinks through a mist by long
eyelashes purled rising silently while I read my book
foolishly, head down in the midst of all this gratuitous
beauty springing slow surprise - veiled field, wet,
soft, an unexpected llama looking long at me,
taking me in,

raiment mist at the hem of the darkening woods.

Requisite red barn, old, leans against the ribbon
of ground fog hovering, a wire fence almost invisible,

gray wire in white cloud between me and that cloud
and that great llama attracted (I like to think)                                                   

by my kissing sounds, her ope't eyes
wide and bestowing near me now

suddenly

look down,

the small head always tilting one side to the other,
little mouth a posed curiosity chewing like a child,
the long graceful neck, shagged soft fur thickly flowing,

disappears into tall grass.

I am victim of my own infatuation for all
my lip smacks and cooing and waving of hands,
one more fool for love fooled yet again.

I note here for the record that I have actually lost
the desire to chase, at least outwardly; rather, my
chase is inner (as always) .


I open my zen poetry book attempting to come
to enlightenment by proximity, and why not?
who's to say, rubbing elbows, “it can't be done”
or “is cheating”? Enlightenment IS cheating, how
dare any being escape the itch, the play and
pain, the desire in chase and surcease craving
release as does the field let go a fine white
mist into space which

gradually

dissipates

without

any trace of

having been.

The animals (not Stanley come) come running sweetly to me.







I think that stars are cold in their enviable far
light, unattainable bottles lined up, glinting totems
on altar shelves, pretty behind a dark and mysterious
Bar that is open all night. I need their remote stellar
indifference, their inhuman capacity to be undisturbed
by anything other than gravity, and something-somewhere
light years close-enough going nova. Then are they affected.

Recall what I wrote the other day on a job application
asking me what my career goals are for the future (I'm
61 years of age) :

I'm going to go nova one day.

Feels good to admit that to someone else,
a distant star for all I know. For now I remain,
rather, a simile then a metaphor then, really,
a black star - energy trapped, still I must be
smart and good-looking enough in yesterday's
Autumn field, and this memory all aroma and
chirp, to attract such unexpected and
unreasoned animal grace.


I read now a yellowed manuscript, an old chase,
an itch returned red, inflamed, my own words
writ 30 years ago sitting on a cold stone wall
by the frozen river, West 142nd Street, hearing
cars and human shouting up the street behind me,
Setcho poems***in my pocket, this my earnest
response to him from icy fingers, my shaking pen


What's will when

the window slams shut?

Just old cake thrown on the street

Why try be happy/sad?

don't affect it

disinfect your mind

play possum

Who's somebody's darlin'?


Setcho, zen master & poet, writes:

After so very many years, it's pointless to

look back on it.

Give this looking back a rest!

A clear breeze the world over

- what limit could it have?

**



Loose Train Haiku Or Similar - New York To Philly - A Train Journal

Nearing Princeton Station

What a wonderful world
this New Jersey is!
Blue train engines!


Withering cornfields
Just turning Autumn leaves
WHOOSH!
The opposing train


Old graves by a lake
Old woman passing in aisle
Fleeting sign outside explains -

FAIR


Loose Train Hokku-no-renga

For the blind woman
on the train every
journey is inner

She touches my shoulder,
moves just one seat ahead
feels the winter collar

metal ring pinned
to its shoulder
smiles when she touches it

dark rings of her eyes
light up momentarily

What universes are in the heads all around me



While reading zen master Ummon,
famous for his one word responses
to pupils questions about the nature
of mind, I happen to look up, see young,
clean-cut preppie reading Wall Street
Journal large bold print:

YES-BUT-TERS DON'T JUST KILL IDEAS.

Congruence of Ummon and General Motors
ad strikes me. I see in mind's eye, so real:

Ummon enters train car, walks up to preppie,
taps shoulder, thunders in ear,

YES BUT! 

I chuckle, smugly 'stinking of enlightenment, '
pleased, translating, 'kill ideas to get to
the 'thing itself 'or the 'no thing.'

Suddenly Ummon turns, smacks me hard
with his KATZ stick, BAM! And he is correct,
of course, to slam me. Arrogance along the
way, no matter how 'apparently' fitting my
zenny smartness, deserves a hard

KATZ!

I humbly return to my book

just write what is seen from the
train window:


Hokku-no-renga Close To Philly:

State Prison

off the square
in the darkest cells
those forms bursting forth

In Prison Window

a jelly jar, water pours
man hands arranging
a little green vine


View upon entering Philly
Receding steeples
the hairline of God


City garden by tracks
A scarecrow even there
Plastic milk jug for a head!


Passing glimpse over bridge -
railing beside a stream
a thin student reading Nietzsche -

“He who can grasp me,
let him grasp me.
However, I am not your crutch.”

- Friedrich Nietzsche from Thus Spake Zarathustra 

**

...
On the other hand I have only tried
to survive, swollen small, myself,
find ways to be in it at all, appalled
hero shrunk to size, compensation
for grandness, a player 'pon an acre
of God on yon Calvin's hill - ol' John
yawning counts his sins a school
boy his sums, insistent dirt
(because it's there) persistent
cleaning his nails;

but tilled I Bible,
King James,
preferred work that,
sounds therein
instilled instead
a-poem-ing then

off at last from
roller holy hill,
a love affair oracular, called,

the Word out-wrung, wrenched,
I always the winch and never the Bride.

Again poetic little feet tracing circles, little breaths that may make a one
entire
once expired.

**

I, Minimus, tongue in cheek, creak oar, row out too
into the Homeric sea, not old Greek singer, long of breath,
but as Winslow, local seer, his paints, straw hat consigned
to mistook heroics, pure accident, not to check radio
maritime, ask captain if row boat worthy of even an
American sea, projected too, can go a-row row rowing,
claw oar into wave tips' whitecaps safe perimeters,
smell of earth nasal-yet to keep oriented to dirt.
Have, instead, reaped I redundant whirlwind
play America the Fool again, naively trusting my

and country's, destiny are one, always good in spite
of Melville's long eloquent 'discantus supra librum' -
above the book - more truing than any, to spoil it,
the projected 'pluribus unum' thing, for Mayflower
folks tripping lightly between the hawthorns,
their imported gardens and God, irritant tomahawks
'can only turn out swell, ' thought they like waves
gathering in sea full of themselves individually,
Destined, they then and do think, to break just for,
O America, thee.

And now come poets each century heavier than
before, heavier than the other few, this new one, too,
only bards, a real few, to bar, board up the big gaps,
O great light gaping torn off, oft thee sung,
slung over shoulder, hauled, the burden,
o the load
it is now become

**

VISUAL BIO. Spare:

Little blur of a photo,1979, apt image-
The 'striving-after' poet, much younger days,
Some months recovering from food poisoning,
Once again exiled to roses, reading Lorca
& Rilke in a park, Medellin, Colombia, South America.
January 1979.

**

Arriving late to love

the broken tower
mourns its ringing ruin.
Long drought of air
once stilled the clapper.

But one breath, Trembler,
cracks metal.
Muteness falls away.

Frightened doves scatter.


Annunciation of rafters:

Come.

Remember gaiety,
how to sway.

Who pulls the rope
are many.

Silver coin,
fly up from

empty fountain,
renew into wishful hand

a saint's
pocket prayer returning.

Poor in heart, scatter.

Bread, swell upon
leaning monuments.

Flowers
for the dead,
wildly grow
pinching lovers
who kiss

over

open

graves.

Black Rooster,
searching, scratch
all dawns.

**

Long in exile,
dizzy with The Path,
human beauty broken there beside,
in every field shy flowers want all
our windows and stoops to proudly
present themselves upon.

This only now but happy do I discover.

And I am old, my scent upon the wind
down human lanes where even dogs
take pleasure from the air, where
children play and narrow water flows
and petal by petal night and day the
joyous moon swoons in the liquor of
splash upon stones happy to be worn.

There, almost within reach, the blossoming
tree brightens between darker bricks to truly
dwell. It is for me a shy son of mists to see
in spite of big chunks missing, lost, wasted,
torn out, that the Celestial World is not as
it appears to most, It yearns for much needed
hardness for spirits without shoes still long
to be bread that they may dwell in our finitude.
To them then I am a daffodil dandy at a rusty
gate where heaven and hell conjoin. There
where the thinned road ends vague statues
sway out of focus lamenting their redaction
to stone, no river to move them petal by petal,
unable to move at all, for movement is not nothing.

Even pretty Buddhas pretending eternity
cannot move by themselves alone in need
of human feet and arms. In this way then
they become like me for I too will be
borne by men or wind to the grave no
longer able to move on my own.

Nothing to lose, this rag of selves.
With what glory remains of hungry pockets,
I skip forward singing, La La La, a willful
don, a lord of nothing-much, poems a'pocket,
knowing it's all a shell game but I'm clever
having learned something from all the dice
rolled knowing that here and there (Heaven)                                                            
weight matters and that there is more to here
than there. Wised up now I always pack a
change of draws, a piece of broken mirror in
my pocket to gaze within practicing my smiles
to fool the gullible gods who think they are
smiling at themselves.

If stopped and questioned at the Gate to
Yellow Spring, I'll blame you, old Ghost
of too many former selves, a meandering
rumor still muttering the old hymns, who
grants me permission the entrance to boldly storm.

**

Poetry As Constellation

for Krishna

'...descend,
and of the curveship
lend a myth to God.'
- Hart Crane


You hear

'consolation'

as 'constellation'

when I explain

a poem is a

consolation


work that I

am compelled

to


as a lover

is to traces

pointing

beyond sighs

and windows

where

Arcturus

stands

poised

wheeling

in night's

patient

round,

his arrow

strung

forever

ready to

swiftly fly

as am I

along the

spatial curve

of your

arching

thighs.


This, too,

taut,

restrained,

breath held

between

Perpetua's

swollen

lips of

praise -


If you

could only

see what

I see in

your eyes

when the

arrow

finally

flies

**

Response To Bernadette Mayer's 'First Turn To Me...'

“you appear without notice and with flowers
I fall for it and we become missionaries

we lie together one night, exhausted couplets
and don't make love. does this mean we've had enough? ”
- Bernadette Mayer


Failing the Grand Coniunctio
this is the only one we know
the one where we eat dirt
and swallow, are filled and
swell belly up a meal to be
eaten when the Messiah comes

Leviathan is our heavenly bridegroom
presses the banquet table with elbows
manners forsaken in the end
yanks at sallow meat forsaking
the wine which has turned
no First Wedding miracle can
be repeated - no do-overs here
Candles burn on as always, false promises

All the doors are marked EXIT

Still we must try
at the Feast

make small talk

look interested

all the while thinking

This is it?


Angels without knees
aprons spotless starched
as beards of saints
complain of humans
the stains they leave

Overheard
between the fork
and spoon obscenely
crossed
one angel to another:

They call it love
what we are supposed
sublimely to sing of
but frankly all that
pushing and shoving
faces in agony the
cries and curses all
that pulling at flesh
bruised as the moon
this can't be love

We stand without legs
the better for it but
for these we must attend
bent over their plates
greedy to have at each
other again to marriage
beds one last time

And then the singing
begins

an eternity

songs about dirt
about longing to return

how all hurts there
mean something
after all

**

You must leave now,
black mouse of sorrow,
now formally named,
take up in another
residence. Do not
borrow my things,
do not move them
with your tail or tongue
or teeth on the table
top or underneath,
nor in the corner
play hide and seek
where I have once
again dropped the
blue accident of love,
he who has left how
he arrived, brown,
beautiful, smelling of
Indian spice, of rose
oil with herbs,
his long black hair,
his silken pockets
full of childhood
prayer carefully
wrapped for safe-
keeping against
the day of his glad-
marry..


Upon the altar then
do not, I plead, sleep
cradled in the god's arms
nor push my thinning
patience where the votive
candle burns for him whom
you seek to replace with
your delicate whiskers
and all your black fur
with webs upon of the one
spider who dwells behind
the jewel box, his gift
for me, his leaving, here
cling/brush against all
things in this dark place
now but do not let me
see it here where it is
I-not-he who is erased.

Is it your wish, then,
to bless me, black mouse?
to keep me company?

**



from “And The Daylight Separated The Mad Boy From His Shadow - Cancion for Garcia Lorca”

The mad boy
writes feeble colors
for love
the halt the lame the
mute which within
around which intends
bends
distorts (in your glass
case)                                                                                                                       
twists takes
traps light to
separate
the mad world
from shadow

Both
we are
contortionists

thus take our
place with clowns who
know tomatoes thrown
and juggler's (bare necked)                                                                                                                      
necessary concentration.

You are the maestro here
whom I trail behind at respectful

distance

murdered by the too ordinary
controllers


So long

So long to image
to suffer on dear
bruised M the
void of course

o bring me
beauty no matter
how terrible

created by His
own opening
which makes
Him forever
Lorca's girl 

You, dear, will read
of my heterosexual shadow

a great lover who serenades
Her in the terrible contradiction

of the moon caught
in bare tree limns strophes

just outside Her window
the fool below in rouge

head hung, singing

O hurt

heart's tin can
tied to belt loop behind
of his ragged pants
pants

waits

to be filled with
whatever flows

in the dirty lane
he leans his
love against

**

Does not it all bear
the familiar arc say
of just-dawn color

mauve-play at the liminal
curve where sky beseeches
bounded space to give
its shapeless-nest a
Cause, a nape conformed

convex from Orbis what
has been scored by breath
pressed upon it?

Who then falsely may decree
any matted clot, spark-charged,
blood engorged, who may not
body-charge ahead and into
'other' merge so must be flung
expunged behind neglected Moon
or plunged through the bruised
ring of abjected Space?


Hear me now


Thrice trace

an outline


Give form to

now dust me (I am)                                                                    

awakening surprise


Here me how


there


and there


and yet


there again


after hammers


caressed

aureoles


and hosannas

outward turn

**

“Are you hungry? ” - Poems for Departure

for Krishna

“Who has twisted us like this, so that  - 
no matter what we do -  we have the bearing
of a man going away...so we live,
forever saying farewell.” - Rainer Maria Rilke

Out of hearing

the last sense
to go sing to me
now before ears
take leave and I
shall have no more
need for words,
sounds, even these
my sighs heard as
I hear you drop
the soap in the bath

I imagine you bending
vague in the steam to
find the bar by scent
as you wash away
your own which has
so compelled me
again and again
into much life

So gladly the
little deaths
cleave to this

I say aloud
though you may
not hear my plea
in there
from where I sit
bent doubly-over
multiplied with grief
for leaving all this
assumed pre-
sence chalked
now upon crumbling
slate


I wait with this
sense of what
is unfolding just
out of reach,
once familiar
now fogged
with herbal scent
clouding the
bath, my heart
embarrassed
to speak of it

remains

cocked
to one side
tilted to hear
all news of
you that is
left in there
touching the
lucky water


You emerge
from the bath
reaching for the
towel, soft, obeying
daily habit, wipes you
dry, each cleft, the pit
of my longing rubbed
without caution

I am caught up in this
vision without glasses
squinting for what is
real or not though you
are faced to mine as I
obediently move my
shaking hand to your
belly, the scar there,
edges still hot
to the touch


Much there is I will
make of this moment,
drying your back as I
have daily done -

once
began the rite
first night

gathering now
the last

o when
the towel easily un-
folded, drank

woven
little mouths many

deeply
into what
has become
natural in me
with the wiping.

In this
I am become
free now of
thinking intent
to this my task
to last this minute
or two, to linger,

each is
become a touch

this one

and this


I am right now to speak
of this, retrieving the soap
which clings one strand
your hair tangled there,
a cypher I read
with joy grown
long into cleaner
disorder


a leaf upon the
bathroom floor
blown in through
the night window
random now
for discovery

a gift
I bring it to
you calling to
me from the
bedroom
as you pack
fumbling upon
the unmade
bed,

“Are you hungry? ”

**

...
With this anniversary I accept my
avian better half, though the human
half be allergic to feathers, wedded
to an inhaler, plumage still embraced
in spite of divided self.

The hard beak gently preens eyelashes
one by one each hair.

The odd eye-stare, the bobbing, the
jerky head especially when walking
less so when hopping, do you even notice?

To hear
the head tips to one side then
the other.

It is all
sound that is out of
balance.

I sing to windows from forests,
to rooftops from street puddles.

I bathe in mirrors of sky.

Trite to say it, grand to do it.

Rumor has it that I once was a reptile.

Maybe.

And so too are you, disguised, two legs
thickly-meated of the ubiquitous hairs
everywhere inflated eyes up front,
not much perspective or balance,

like a weak pine you fall more than I
and when I do it's on purpose (unless
it's for love) without complaint of the
air which never fails - air, that is.
Just to be clear.

Just to be clear, I am at home wherever I
land scanning available horizons which are
also always home.

High, low. Vertical is the thing. And spin.

Speed goes without saying.

Greatly fond of drift, I am easy in the

updraft.

I will not speak of dawn's greatness,

how you quickly forget.


You say that I repeat myself often,
am limited in expression to only a few notes,
clipped patterns in the song, the cryptic
call always an ellipsis. Boring, you say.

Interpretations, really, it's all in the
inflection after all the years now - Now.

There's always the dancing too
in powder blue without shoes or
need of them

claws nicely do the
deed is done the changeling comes

note that I am singing to you how
the way it's done.

I tell you the weather but do you listen?

For love, shall I say it again?

I shall say it again.

For love I leave calligraphy in guano
everywhere

but you do not read it much less see that
there
are its messages all around.

And still I am with you trying
to wake you. I peck. I scratch.
I even dance again, a frenzy brightly
ruffled, boasting to impress:

I can lay an egg! You?

Words only? Brittle sticks
but none to land on, or perch,
standing on one leg,
head beneath a wing.

I am so tired.

I can't close my eyes, what wings also are for.

**

...
We lay together, two wrecks, Love,
wooden ships conjoined by forces
too great, too objective to blame.
We stretch beside a shoreline,
eels play in the one rib of our
opened selves, our rarer fingers
gesture horizon to stars, even

Sun/Moon, entwine before and behind
centering a presumably expanding
circumference curving inwardly
toward itself which is an affection,
a longing, a bottom upon which
even God can lay hidden from secret
admirers such are mirrors whose
surfaces are rarely breached.

But there is reach.

Many ways to say the word “love”
which, redundant to say,

sparks,

and we are returned to some notion

Platonic beyond higher math

of over-said,

over-reached

“Infinity”
...
I wish you, Love,
beyond/within all Voids

- is the Void one or plurality? -

a painter on a near shore to
paint what we have become.
One (he must be) beautiful,
a man, radiant, who raises
a thumb to rearrange

^^^^^^^^^^^^^the horizon^^^^^^^^^^^^

*******************************************the sky*****

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~the moving line~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~~~~~~un~~~~~du~~~~~lant~~~~~~aslant

of the sea where we without
breadth heave each our separate
selves and each other into,
squint, a promontory, shear,
one eye to gauge, the other
allow a thumb's scan, by any
other intent, acknowledgement
of worth perceived:

“Though they are all white with black and grey scoring,
the range is far from a whisper, and this new development
makes the painting itself the form.”

“A bird seems to have
passed through the impasto with cream-colored screams and
bitter claw marks.” - O'Hara about Cy Twomby's paintings

Waves/wayward clocks (become)                                                                                              

adrift migrant birds, scores,
always cry at the unending feast.

We are not the least of these
but know ourselves too beyond
bondage to time which is to say
hunger” in spite of rhythm

Love, let us live without

rhyme

the sun go up the

sun go down,

the-Sky-(Amor)-Wheel-Fati

turn and return

with feeling

Let the painter lonely be

alone

pinned to shore with

his paints, his brushes,

his thumb-gauged vision

in relation to ourselves,

and Void, without intended

rhyme trued, true to ourselves.


Nature, too, is true.


May he use the color blue.

Carelessly.

Tubes of it.

We once were that, too -

careless without.

Now wrecks.

Vaulted. Now become

weather without

foreheads

without

cloudnecks

Vastness

in the making

(if such
is made at all)                                                                                              

but is aporetic

euphoric

a condition,

a given

hard thumb

against

a sky of

tubes made

and of

squints made


we are then a

“striving after”

beyond cream-colored

foam/form

churned by storm

Here come the wild birds again

**

But what I want to
report to you-not-here,
for the record, to be
read out into the snow
that has begun to fall
silently in the gutter,
is that I opened the
morning curtain and there
on the metal escape sat,
and still sits, a dove,
brown, beautiful, which
does not move at all,
when the curtains made
to move, and the day
rushes in without consent.
It, not the daylight
but the dove, just to
be very clear, cocks
only its head toward
movement and calmly

(I have successfully
resisted writing 'moves
and calamity')                             

sits shaped
like one pure tear.
Or pear. Both of which
share an 'ear'.

Suddenly, joy in me
flashes and I know the
dove for me has come.
And the mouse.

**

'...descend and of the curveship lend a myth to God.' - Hart Crane

The boys, seven falling: Jamey Rodemayer, Tyler Clementi,
Raymond Chase, Asher Brown, Billy Lucas, Seth Walsh, Justin Aaberg


Even the pigeons on my stoop are silent now.
One mourning dove coos tenderly for these who
have taken their own lives publicly on our behalf,
for those many gone before them, broken hearts
enraged, no more to engage the unpersuaded
world which, one of them, one of the public ones,
in spite of murmuring wharves, in spite of amorous
dark alleys bitter in the pitch of the last hateful
American Century, Hart Crane, wrote before his leap
from the ship beside the phallic curve where Cuba
meets the lisping sea, took his tongue away which
sang of chill dawns breaking upon bridges whose
spans still freely splinter light returning hungover
from the night wharves, grottoes, and denim World
Wars, industrial embraces crushing every man and
now another one abandons his fingers and fiddling
to scattering light, takes flight from ledges to
edge close to an embrace no longer forbidden -

'And so it was I entered the broken world
to trace the visionary company of love...'

I am the itinerant priest who sits at meager feasts.
Suffering congregants, forlorn over their starfish and soup,
ask about dreams, confess to anguish, ask what should be done.
Here at my confessional I can only plead mercy upon the boys
who have jumped from bridges, hung themselves, cut, sliced their
compulsive hands, exploded hearts, leaping dears eyes ablaze in
thrall of antlers, trembling flanks strong to fly decrying the
violent hunt which always ends in a death bequeathing these
chopped bits to me and to others like me who remain at table,
plates before, to stare at what is to be later scattered, sown,
these pieces in and for Love-without-name still a stain upon
confused local deities and their wild-eyed supplicants.


But there is no stain upon the promiscuous sea.

**

Dear Low,

Not to worry.

I am the man most pursued in last night's dream.
That emaciated thing at my back keeps tracking me.
I remain just out of reach. Classic. Even there,
as here, I am escaping something, a life time of
practice in this 'Kingdom of the Canker'.

It was no banker who followed me last night
but a starved lacklove rejected by 'Canker' and, well,
by me. Who'd want that part, all start and no finish?
Replenishment has often enough meant hiding out
and a demand that it keep at least 5 arm lengths away.

I will try, I tell it, to look at it but I find its presence
most disturbing, its handful of leaves continually
proffered leaves me in a quandary. What do they
mean, this offering, though my father was a lumberjack?
Perhaps this is a track of sorts to follow for an end
to the mystery. I am stumped.

Again, not to worry.

After a life time (now almost 60 years) of identity crises,
which is a low grade fever in the personality, such is poetry.
I am very weary of it as I now move into yet another identity,
OLD MAN. And who gives a damn in that new
'Kingdom of the Cracked & Crank'? Invisibility awaits, or worse,
pee pants.

Do I become that thing which follows me in my sleep,
leprously white, pale wanderer of the empty pockets,
eyes dark and full of something deeply known?
I am not yet ready to know such things though the
dream indicates that I am for it is very near.

How can I expect the culture to pretend to be interested,
it having pushed the thing even farther away than I ever
could? And since this has turned too goddamned
confessional I do confess that I am beginning to lose
heart for it, all this pushing, this running away, which is
perhaps good news to the very few who know me truly.

Rather,

I sit on the cultural dunce stool in my corner of the room
reading, reading, tracing, tracing the chase of 'logos'
through time. No rhyme or reason can I make with my
earnest forefinger. Still malingering shadows of what is
in those dark eyes just over there dim my creased page.
I pull at curtains to close out tighter whatever daylight those
eyes may bring to my knowing.

I am such a monk.
I live hard unto myself.

I daily sacrifice goats on an alabster altar to
the blood thirsty deity both in me and who dwells
just outside my door.

Grace, yet, daily unfolds, usually in the coffee cup, first sip,
and morning prayer without too much buyer's remorse which,
I am convinced, is what that first squall of the just born infant
is about...'So much for corporeality...desiring only the womb.
I could not read the fine print of the contract writ small in
capillaries, that upon me there will be a vice, a clutch of
alien air, a fall into too much light and clouds of Mercurochrome.
I regret me I regret me I regret me...'

One adjusts. Continually. The persona is adaptation
appearing to be solid but sleep reveals the neutrality
of the animal. Dreams tell us otherwise when we remember
them as it takes an ego to witness, to remember.
They reveal that we are caught up into something
so much greater than flush and stir. It's a wonder we make
do as much as we do and still call ourselves by name,
our family a species of animal, 'homo sapiens'.

I regret self pity. I'd reject it if I could
but it adheres, last resort of old coots born
honestly into it no matter the copious Mercurochrome baths,
the smelling salts obviating the needed nipple.

What is all this singing bathed in tears born of tremendous desire
and fear? Whose arms would hold fast and safe, embracement
against the brace of all us we fallen stars who do burn out brightly
or, more like me, privately in quarters counting days as if each is
the last until that dread thing finally comes in, after a life time of
daily threats and close escapes, with hopeful relief? Hopefully
there will be no buyer's remorse for purchase of Death.

''Here, '' I'll try to say 'ponst that day',
(one must become Shakespearean in such company,
last payment on the installment plan) ,

''Here's breath for you. I tried to use it well.''

Today the Market reports a run on Mercurochrome.
Birth goes on. I am for rebirth, a dirth of days
makes me suddenly Hindu, foregoing gurus and
bindu point. I've made my own here.

Selah.

Still, methinks I'll have your ear for a little while longer,
a handful of leaves only for my thanks, one foot well
into 'Cracked and Crank', the drunk tank a memory
worn out. Doubt is my companion.

Love, too. No remorse there.
Buys me time, aftershave and
loads of underwear for the trickles ahead.
Thank the gods for all that.

Oh. And one last good cigar.

W.

**

At the fence I wait. No train yet
which will be a movement, too, beside
the wet, and these thoughts here.

That you are tissue essential and fabric
to my own particularity.

I send you a sound wonder, a welcome again
to that place you dwell here within.
 


Time the only disparity,

Telford, PA, snow on gravestones,
tall houses on cupped hills in squared

parcels back lit with sunset's down-light,
juxtapose a Wyeth isolation and beauty

which is the dutiful image of you, heart
breaking through. I break to laughter

remembering our first meeting

OR

Which is the dutiful image of you?
Heart broken remembering the first meeting,

then the departing.



The distant gazebo of that small
town wears white lights garlanded

round, and snow. A boy without gloves
reads alone, his nose red too.

He is no fool who takes his time and
place to know.


 

I rediscover you a gift here still as
I have in good counsel curtsied and coughed

often enough, my own hand to my own groin,
to discover a fissure again, again to repeat,

that you are tissue essential still and
fabric to my own particularity upon a hill,

a house, one fence above a stream and rails,
a blinking boy turning wet pages appears to

know that you or someone similar just a few
years ahead already familiar dwells inside,

compels his reading just before sunset
squinting at words beyond and past the fence

and the stream, the train late,
footprints dark blue in the patient drift. 


 

**

Making Things Right In Exile - After the Chinese Poet, Po Chui

He rests awhile in the wide orchard
where bright plum flowers rain. He
unrolls his pallet to sleep inside
the humming glade.

“Raiment, ” he writes in his sleepy
head, “of leaves and bees. An old man
puts the best plum in his sleeve to
bring home to his bitter wife.”

“Why strive when nature is bounteous
and all ills can be made right with
wet sweetness? ”

**

Will call in the horseman
and his short-legged horse,
roll up this scroll, tie
it tight with good cord,
wrap it secure in chamois,
pay the restless postman
his due, his room, his board,
and 'mail' this to you over
the ranges, that ocean, to
that high place 3 days by
foot, Chirisan, mighty dragon,
allowing your weight.

We are all a scandal.

Kow towing toward the West
(though you are in the Far East)                              
where you are just watching the
sun come up, keep an eye out for
the horseman moving your way.

- Warren Falcon

All these my poems, my efforts, are
lovingly dedicated to my mother and father,
Geneva & Warren:

From childhood our song:

Hurry awake sleepy bee
Softly sings the breeze

To sweetness we are called
when the sun high shall be
freshened with tears our departing


behind the barred door wait

a lock of wound hair
silk pouch of my gated heart

it will be a hard arrow to pierce it

**





[Photos by Warren Falcon]